These feel-good TV shows are sure to tickle your funny bone and pull at your heartstrings.
The winter can be long, cold, and sometimes downright cruel. When the sun goes down at 4 p.m., on some days it’s easy to go the entire day without cracking a smile (or leaving the house…or getting out of your pajamas…). If you’re finding yourself in a winter funk, a little bit of self-care can be the best way to get yourself out of it. One of our favorite ways to relax, unwind, and escape the real world for a little while is by watching TV. And yes, sometimes we get swallowed whole by a true-crime doc or a movie about Princess Diana — and if those make you truly feel good, more power to you. But sometimes you just need something to take the edge off and remind you of the good things in life. We’re talking about feel-good TV shows — shows guaranteed to make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. And thanks to streaming, this type of content is inescapable.
But, for when you’re sick of Hallmark movies, we came up with this list of our 10 favorite funny and feel-good TV shows that will keep you smiling all the way to springtime.
The Best Feel-Good TV Shows Streaming Right Now
All Creatures Great and Small (Amazon Prime Video)
What do you get when you cross a PBS Masterpiece Classic with a script about animal lovers? The most delightful little television series you didn’t even know you needed. All Creatures Great and Small takes place in 1937, when a young Irish veterinarian fresh out of school accepts a position in the bucolic town of Yorkshire Dales. This series has literally everything you could want in a feel-good show: soothing British accents, immaculate period sets and costumes, sweeping countryside imagery, and adorable animals in need of a little TLC. We’re sold.
The Wonder Years (ABC, Hulu)
In general, we’re a bit on the fence about this whole “let’s just remake a show that people loved a long time ago” trend that’s going on in Hollywood, but this series is the exception to the rule. Like the original The Wonder Years before it, the series is a coming-of-age series about a young boy growing up in the 1960s and is narrated by his adult self. This time though, the Arnold family is replaced by the Williams’, a Black family living in Montgomery, Alabama. We are pleased to report that it packs just as much heart, nostalgia, and wholesome life lessons into each episode as the original.
What’s even longer than 4eva? 5eva, obviously. That’s where the ‘90s one-hit-wonder girl group got its name: Girls5Eva. In the show, executive produced by Tina Fey and with a brilliant soundtrack courtesy of her husband, composer Jeff Richmond, the remaining members of a long-forgotten girl band reunite after one of their old songs is sampled by a popular rapper. As we’ve come to expect from Fey, the show is a sophisticated yet easy-to-watch comedy with some real laugh-out-loud one-liners, which are brought to life by a dynamic cast including Sara Bareilles, Busy Philipps, Paula Pell, and Renée Elise Goldsberry.
We Are Lady Parts (Peacock)
Peacock is really strutting their stuff this year, and We Are Lady Parts is further proof that they’re getting back to their original roots as the go-to place for laugh-out-loud comedy television. The show follows a genius nerd named Amina, who, while getting her biochemical engineering Ph.D, is recruited to join an all-female Muslim punk band called We Are Lady Parts. The show is absolutely hilarious, and although it can be slightly irreverent at times it shows a dynamic, silly, independent group of Muslim women— a category that has been severely underrepresented on American television.
Betty (HBO Max)
After years of putting all of their money behind male-centric comedies, streaming services are finally beginning to get the memo that people want to see hilarious women represented on television, too. Betty is the story of a diverse young group of female skaters living in New York City and trying to carve out their place in the skating world. The series, directed by documentary filmmaker Crystal Moselle, is based on her feature documentary Skate Kitchen. Although the series is scripted, it stars many of the skaters from the documentary, so the scenes of the young women skating are pretty epic. The show and the actresses in it are effortlessly cool, and they represent a new generation of women who are confident, empowered, and genuinely want to see each other succeed in a historically male-dominated sport.
Everything’s Gonna Be Okay (Hulu)
On its surface, this show sounds like a doozy: a 20-year-old boy named Nicholas is visiting his father and half-sisters, one of whom has autism, when their father dies unexpectedly. As the siblings cope with the loss, they realize that Nicholas is their oldest surviving relative, and he is suddenly thrust into the role of parent when he is practically still a child himself. That said, the show balances moments of grief with the love, levity, and often hilariously awkward moments that come with raising teenagers. It’s a show that will make you laugh, cry, and fill you with the warmth that only comes from the power of family.
The Sex Lives of College Girls (HBO Max)
Don’t let this super salacious title fool you: The Sex Lives of College Girls is much closer to the real thing than to the fantasy version. From the wild mind of Mindy Kaling, this series showcases the real sex lives of most college girls: awkward, uncomfortable, and sometimes, non-existant. The series follows four freshman girls during their first year at a small, prestigious college in Vermont. As the girls form friendships with each other, they also try to navigate the confusing and hormone-fueled nightmare that is being a college freshman. Some people are repressed, others are taking their first time away from home way too far, and basically everyone is insecure. You’ll laugh and cringe while you simultaneously fondly remember your own late-teens and thank your lucky stars you’re not there anymore.
Starstruck (HBO Max)
If you’re looking for a show whose protagonist could be your best friend, wifey, or sister, then Starstruck is the show for you. This series follows a young Australian woman named Jessie who is living paycheck-to-paycheck in England while she tries to figure out what she wants to do with her life. On New Year’s Eve, she meets a handsome stranger at a bar, and goes back with him to his apartment. As she groggily walks around the apartment the next morning, she realizes the man she spent the night with is a super famous action movie star named Tom. Over the course of a year, laid out into six episodes, the series follows Jessie as her very normal life keeps getting interrupted by sporadic appearances from a very famous hottie. By the end of the first episode, you’ll understand why Tom can’t help but be drawn to the goofy and down-to-earth Jessie.
Rutherford Falls (Peacock)
It’s a hat-trick for Peacock! That’s right, friends: this makes three of our favorite new funny shows coming to you courtesy of NBC’s new streaming service. This series follows a pair of lifelong best friends who grew up together in the small town of Rutherford Falls: Reagan Wells (played by Jana Schmieding), a member of the Minishonka Nation and champion of Indigenous rights, and Nathan Rutherford (played by Ed Helms), a proud descendant of the town’s founder and an avid historian. When the town mayor decides to move a statue of the town founder, Rutherford is outraged, and Wells must decide whether she values her loyalty to her friend over what is best for the Minishonka Nation. The show is silly and heartwarming — think Parks and Rec — but it’s also one that will subtly open your eyes to the oppression and marginalization that Indigenous Americans still face today.
And Just Like That (HBO Max)
The girls are back in town! (Well, most of them anyway — after very publicly airing her grievances about her castmates, actress Kim Cattrall opted not to join the series reboot.) You’ll have to wait until December 9 for the premiere, but for all of you Sex and the City fans out there, we have a feeling it will be well worth the wait. After six seasons and two movies, three of your favorite New York City foursome will be back on the small screen with the Sex and the City revival And Just Like That. Just like the show’s fans, the girls are a little bit older now, and their problems are less “who am I going to sleep with tonight” and more “should I keep dying my hair or embrace the gray,” but they’re still the same Carrie, Miranda, and Charlotte that you fell in love with — and their clothes are just as fabulous.